BEAM addresses Council to Declare a Climate Emergency

Updated: May 26

BEAM President Peter Lockyer and Committee member Clare Daly encouraged Council to be “bold and ambitious” in addressing our climate future.

We have just 10 years to keep Global Warming below 1.5 degrees. Current local plans of zero emissions by 2050 will fall far short of this.


We acted on the fires.
We are acting on Covid-19.
We must act on the Climate Emergency!

Time to Declare a Climate Emergency

BEAM Mitchell Environment Group presented to Mitchell Shire late on Monday night February 8th. BEAM President Peter Lockyer and Committee member Clare Daly encouraged Council to be “bold and ambitious” in addressing our climate future. The Council listened and we hope to see it brought up as a formal motion in the very near future


Community groups working in partnership with our local Council can make a big impact on reducing regional carbon emissions, and deliver exciting local economic and social outcomes for our broader community. This was the message that BEAM Mitchell Environment Group presented to Mitchell Shire late on Monday night Feb 8th. BEAM President Peter Lockyer and Committee member Clare Daly encouraged Council to be “bold and ambitious” in addressing our climate future.


BEAM presented a snapshot of our rapidly deteriorating climate change scenario, with global warming posing a potentially catastrophic risk, and that climate models understate the risks with the earth already being too hot for stability.


In a nutshell, the group encouraged Council to:

  • Declare a Climate Emergency.

  • Set a target of net-zero emissions by 2030 across all Council operations.

  • Work with community groups to develop a Climate Emergency Action Plan to meet this target, and

  • Engage with the broader community in climate action and new economic opportunities.

In Mitchell Shire, we have already seen extreme weather events that impact on our energy systems (blackouts), health systems stressed (smoke inhalation in big fires), transport systems (no rail services, road closures from panic traffic and additional accidents) . Our climate is getting hotter and drier, and extreme weather is happening more often and more severe. The Bushfires Royal Commission noted “expect big fires more often and up to three times as intense”.


Adaptation will not be possible without emergency mitigation measures including rapid transition to zero emissions and large-scale carbon drawdown. Mitigation measures will include heat reduction through tree planting, shade structures, refuges from heat for especially for the aged, water retention in the environment, subdivision design to aid energy efficient building clusters.


Mitigation measures also involve emissions reduction through behaviour al changes (drive less, smarter use of energy, more gardens), water-wise gardens, “green waste” is too valuable to waste….and across the community, a more rapid uptake of renewable energy. We need to be smarter in reducing emissions, and there is an urgency.


The CSIRO suggests we have a decade for action on climate.


32 Councils have declared a Climate Emergency across Victoria, and many of these aim for net zero emissions by 2030 (Shepparton, Indigo, Hobsons Bay, for example)”. BEAM suggested that a community-Council engagement could s create this change in Mitchell, and demonstrate the leadership on climate action that is being called for over the coming decade – globally, in Victoria and across our Mitchell Shire.


Council’s adopted Environment Policy acknowledges the threat in broad terms “We will continue to respond to climatic changes and emergencies” but lacks medium term targets. With our collective strengths however, Council and community collaboration could deliver a Climate Emergency Action Plan


That was the challenging backdrop to the opportunities BEAM believes we have in Mitchell Shire for renewables, with rooftop solar on all Council facilities – money saved on wasted power could be saved through the rapid roll out of rooftop solar could self-fund further renewables expansion. And energy efficiency upgrades in building. “The whole Shire benefits and this could be the power generation security for a transition to Electric Vehicles, sooner rather than later” BEAM suggested. Further, community group expertise suggests there are alternative sources for this start-up funding aside from Council borrowings.


A lively and upbeat discussion followed about the path forward in Mitchell Shire, from agriculture emissions through to landscape rejuvenation and energy efficient developments.


Peter Lockyer

BEAM President

10th February 2021




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